Wye River Currents
May 6, 2021
As winter turns to spring, and (over the past week) to summer, so too does school life have “liminal,” or in-between, seasons. These liminal times occur when one thing is ending and something new is coming, but we’re not quite there yet. Our seniors have but two weeks of classes left, then they will leave behind the comforts and certainties of Wye River Upper School and move on to college, jobs, training, and adult life. Their K-12 season ends, the next is not quite born. We say goodbye to a beloved teacher before the school year ends, and welcome a new teacher brimming with enthusiasm and ideas… one season ends a bit prematurely and another begins rather abruptly. Alas, we have but a short liminal season of transition. And then there’s the long liminal season. Even amidst COVID we’ve spent the year crossing a bridge (Dave) between the beloved founder (Chrissy) and the dynamic young educator (Stephanie). It’s been an interesting journey being the liminal bridge, full of challenges, to be sure, but full of excitement for the future and appreciation for the past. It seems, in hindsight, odd to have consciously chosen to be in the center of liminality for an extended time, but I cannot think of a better way to have spent this past year.
So as we experience the discomfort and unsettledness of these liminal seasons, let’s celebrate how far we have come, how much we’ve done, and how we’ve grown in so many ways through this season of uncertainty and change. As Lao Tzu said 2500 years ago, “the journey is the reward,” and the more we can grow comfortable with that notion, especially in these times, the better we’ll be able to weather them.
April 28, 2021
On the fragility of life
We’ve spent more than 13 months contemplating our own and our loved ones’ mortality. With 1 of every 560 Americans having died of COVID over the past year, and one of every 10 having contracted the disease, it has been a fearful time. And yet, as life returns to normal, terrible and distressing things continue to happen. Whether through accident or anger, loved ones can quickly find themselves in circumstances beyond their control. So we grieve, with one of our students who lost his mother this past week. And we hug our kids a little bit tighter, and we try to make sense of a sometimes senseless world. A world that doesn’t always provide answers, but can provide a caring community to help console our hearts. As Plato said, “be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle of which you know nothing.” Sometimes that’s all we can do.
April 19th, 2021
It has been a terrific first week of full-on in-person learning this week at Wye River Upper School. While we are sympathetic to those who cannot join us in person, spirits are light as we hear Geneya singing John Lennon in gym, see Andrew pumping iron at The Y, listen to Chris and Alexandra chatter about the osprey nest on Chesterfield Ave., watch Davin and Garrett running along Mill Creek, and hear Adon’s tenor sax as he records in the gym. Athletics and activities are in full swing and we’re getting ready for a hybrid Art and Music Expo.
No, it’s not as terrific as April 2019, but it’s a whole lot better than April 2020. And just wait until April 2022!
Now that anyone who is 16 or older can get vaccinated, we’re seeing many students join the faculty and staff among the “jabbed.” We’ll continue with pool testing, masks, hand washing and sanitizing, and social distancing at least through this school year, and will determine what precautions still need to be in place given guidelines from the state and the CDC when August rolls around. In the meantime, we’re going to enjoy having those students who can be with us in person and keep those who can’t, in the loop. I can’t wait to see things take off next fall, even if from afar!
Interim Head of School, Dave Mullen
April 14th, 2021
Welcome to our inaugural blog, in which your friendly neighborhood Head of School will offer thoughts and reflections on life at Wye River Upper School and other random notions. From now through June, Dave will be writing, and beginning in July you’ll hear from Stephanie on a semi-regular basis.
In some ways we’re asking ourselves to do what we’re asking our students to do, reflect on what’s going on in our lives and our communities in a way that offers insight to (hopefully) others, and to ourselves. Writing is a discipline and a practice, much like playing the guitar, golfing, or meditating. The more we do it the better we’ll get at it, and like those other practices there is no “arrival” point… we can always improve. Indeed, as with many of life’s important endeavors, it’s helpful to treat the journey as the reward.
We call this blog “Currents” because, just as in the real Wye River, at Wye River Upper School there’s a lot happening below the surface that can’t be seen. As teachers, the seeds we plant often don’t bloom until long after students have left us. Yet those seeds are growing, those currents are moving, under the surface, and the effect is profound. It’s helpful for me to remember that we are but one step on their journey of life, an important one, but not the final one.
We may invite other members of the school community to share this blog as time goes on, to celebrate the work our students and teachers are doing. This is a magnificent school, and as we go through another transition in the midst of a pandemic, there is much upon which to reflect.
Constructive feedback is always welcome as we undertake this blogging journey. Kudos are welcome, civil debate is fine, harsh criticism should be sent via private email to the author. We hope you enjoy the journey.
Interim Head of School, Dave Mullen